Optimal Robotics Drops as Earnings Projections Fall Short

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Optimal Robotics (OPMR) , a maker of automated checkout systems for grocery stores, was down 16.9% in preopen Instinet trading after warning late Tuesday that its earnings would fall short of expectations for the second half.

The company now expects third-quarter earnings of 27 to 28 cents a share on revenue between $33.5 million and $34 million. For the fourth quarter, Optimal sees earnings of zero to 1 cent per share, on revenue of $14 million to $15 million.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 35 cents per share for the third quarter and 13 cents for the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

The company blamed the shortfall on declining business spending and increased uncertainty following the Sept. 11 attacks.